A Guide to Fatigue Analysis This guide starts from the applications of fatigue analysis and its role in FEA simulation. Fundamental concepts and principles will be introduced such as what is fatigue, fatigue design philosophy, life estimation methods, stress life approach, etc… About the Author: My name is Cyprien Rusu, I am a French CAE engineer who wants to teach the right bases of FEA Simulation to designers, engineers and everyone aspiring to get it right! Hundreds of FEA students followed my free FEA webinars on Youtube, read my blog articles on feaforall.com and joined my FEA courses to learn more and improve their understanding of FEA and become better engineers! I have also taught FEA seminars to FEA engineers from all over the world… Do you want to join my free FEA course? Click on the link below and join the course to get a basic understanding of the FEA foundations that you need to have: Join the free FEA course Page 2 1- What is Fatigue Failure? Fatigue failure is defined as the tendency of a material to fracture by means of progressive brittle cracking under repeated alternating or cyclic stresses of an intensity considerably below the normal strength. Although the fracture is of a brittle type, it may take some time to propagate, depending on both the intensity and frequency of the stress cycles. Examples of fatigue failure All structures and mechanical components that are cyclically loaded can fail by fatigue. Fundamental requirements during design and manufacturing to avoid fatigue failure are different for each different case and should be considered during the design phase. Page 2 2- Fatigue Design Philosophy Before attempting to carry out a fatigue calculation, or even choosing a way of calculating, it is necessary in critical situations to decide on a design philosophy. The three main approaches are Safe-Life, Fail-Safe and DamageTolerant. Safe-Life Products are designed to survive a specific design life. Full scale tests are usually carried out with margins of safety applied. Fairly optimized structures. A “safe-life” stool. Any less than three legs and it would fall over! Fail-Safe Products are designed to avoid any failure regardless of costs. If the structure were to fail in some part, it would capable to working properly, until necessary repairs could be made. A “Fail-Safe” stool. Failure of one leg would not result in overall failure. Damage-Tolerant Products are design to take into account inspection criterion to investigate the structure periodically to see whether or not crack have started. A “damage-tolerant” stool. The stool has some built in redundancy and is inspected regularly. 3- Life Estimation Methods Fatigue analysis itself usually refers to one of two methodologies. The stress-life (or S-N method), is commonly referred to as the total life method since it makes no distinction between initiating or growing a crack. This was the first fatigue analysis method to be developed over 100 years ago. The local-strain or strain-life (E-N) method, commonly referred to as the crack initiation method, was more recently developed and is intended to describe only the ‘initiation’ of a crack. Total Life Crack Initiation Crack Growth An idealization of the fatigue design process Fracture specifically describe the growth or propagation of a crack once it has been initiated and has given rise to many socalled crack growth methodologies. 4- Fatigue Loading Some load histories may be simple and repetitive, while in other cases they may be completely random. They can also have constant or variable amplitudes. For simple cases constant amplitude loading is used to obtain material fatigue behavior/properties for fatigue design. Some real life load histories can occasionally be modeled with constant amplitude as well. Constant amplitude loading has been introduced below: Sa time Stress Tension (+) b) Cycle – 2 reversals Smax Sm Sr Smin – minimum stress Smax – maximum stress Sa – alternating stress (stress amplitude) Sm – mean stress Sr – stress range Sa Sr Smin time (-) Stress (-) Compression Tension (+) a) R – stress ratio R = -1 R=0 fully reversed cycle pulsating tension Examples of stress cycles, (a) fully reversed, and (b) offset. Stresses can be replaced with load, moment, torque, strain, deflection or stress intensity factors. 5 - Wőhler’s Curve, S-N Curve This curve has been developed by German August Wőhler for his systematic fatigue tests done in the 1870’s. S-N Curve plots the diagram of amplitude of nominal stress as a function of number of cycles to failure for un-notched (smooth) specimens. Mathematical description of the material S-N curve: A Sa= σa= A·Nf-B B σa – applied alternating stress A – constant, value of σa at one cycle B – Basquin’s exponent, slope of the log-log curve Nf - the number of cycles of stress that a specimen sustains before failure occurs 6 - Stress Life Approach Stress life method, more commonly known as the S-N or Nominal Stress method is used for total life calculation. It assumes the structure to be fully elastic (even in local fatigue related details like notches). Initiation or growing phase of a crack is not considered. Applicable to high cycle fatigue problems (low load-long life). This approach should not be used to estimate fatigue lives below 10,000 cycles. Some basic features related to Stress-Life approach: · Material and component S-N curves · Stress concentration factors, · Miner’s cumulative damage theory · Goodman or Gerber mean stress correction · Rainflow Cycles Counting Rainflow cycles counting example Gerber-Goodman diagram 7 - Strain Life Approach This method is also called Critical Location (CLA) approach, Local Stress-Strain, E-N or Crack Initiation. It applies when the structure durability depends on stress amplitude of local strain at the crack initiation place. Strain-life design method is based on relating the fatigue life of notched parts to the life of small unnotched specimens cycled to the same strains as the material at the notch root. This approach is best suited for low cycle fatigue problems, where the applied stresses have a significant plastic component. ΔS Δε Critical zone Smooth specimen Δε ΔS Notch The concept of similitude between strain controlled test specimen and a component being designed 8 - Strain Life Curve E-N curve shows the relationship between the strain and the number of cycles causing fatigue failure as expressed in equation below. By applying a number of individual strain amplitudes to the E-N curve, which have been extracted through rainflow-counting, each number of cycles and the corresponding individual damage level are obtained. Δε/2 – total strain amplitude = εa Nf - the number of cycles of stress that a specimen sustains before failure occurs E – modulus of elasticity σf’ – fatigue strength coefficient εf’ – fatigue ductility coefficient C – fatigue ductility exponent Do you want to join my free « FEA Foundations » course? Join the free FEA course Contact Website: feaforall.com Email: [email protected] Telephone: +82-31-789-4040